Chicago Children’s Theatre has engaged Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to take the Victory Gardens Biograph Theatre stage as a Celebrity Reading Ambassador at noon this Saturday, May 12. The Governor appears in support of the “Brown Bear, Brown Bear Book Drive,” co-sponsored by the Chicago Children’s Theatre company and Open Books, a nonprofit dedicated to the promotion of literacy in Chicago and beyond.
Governor Quinn generously volunteered to kick off the Celebrity Reading Series featured the next three Saturday afternoons prior to performance of the company’s current production “A Brown Bear, A Moon and A Caterpillar: Treasured Stories by Eric Carle," playing now through May 27. His act will be followed by fellow Ambassadors Ana Belaval , WGN-TV Around Town reporter and family-friendly rocker Ralph Covert of “Ralph’s World” fame, appearing on May 19 and May 26. They’ll all read other Eric Carle favorites.
Governor Quinn said "We know that the best investment we can make in our future is giving our children a good education. From birth to 5 years old is the best time to make sure our kids learn that readers are leaders. That early childhood education will be the foundation for their success for the rest of their lives. I hope these children will love reading just like I did."
The theater production features a new triple bill of three Eric Carle classics: "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" ; "Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me" and "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." In conjunction with the presentation, Chicago Children's Theatre and Open Books are encouraging families to bring new or used early childhood reading books with them to the theater to donate to Chicago area kids in need.
And the need is great. Literacy studies indicate that 44% of America's 4th graders cannot read aloud fluently, and 61% of low-income households do not have any children's books at home.
To help combat this problem locally, all books collected at the theater before and after the show will be donated to Open Books, which will sell the books in their store and online to support its early childhood literacy programs across Chicago. For tax receipts for donations and complete information visit Open Books.
For more information about the theatre company dedicated to first-rate children's theatre in Chicago visit Chicago Children's Theatre or call 773.227.0180.